(ABOVE: image by Karl Heitmueller, Jr.)
For the past 12 years, the show has raised over $100,000 for the cemetery, which is a historical site in the heart of Jersey City that is now maintained by a volunteer Board of Trustees, a hard-working group of volunteers, and a supportive Community who are committed to the restoration of the historic cemetery grounds, caretaker house, and historic monuments.
“The Ghost of Uncle Joe’s is the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery’s most important annual fundraiser,” says show producer Anthony “Dancing Tony” Susco. “The cemetery, which was established in the 1830’s as New Jersey’s first non-denominational cemetery was abandoned and bankrupt in 2008, before it was brought under the care of the current all-volunteer foundation board.”
Challenging as it may be to execute an event like this amid COVID, there was a poignant impetus behind this year’s show.
“Sadly our Volunteer President, Eileen Markenstein, died unexpectedly in August,” said Dancing Tony. “So we have both a financial need to hold this event and an inspirational one this year.”
With their hearts certainly in it, organizers still needed to overcome logistical obstacles.
“This event is usually a one-day event, with 11 bands at the cemetery and then 5 or 6 after parties at multiple bars and music venues in Jersey City. With COVID most of these bars and for the most part, live music events have been shut down, so we retooled this event to have multiple socially distanced shows outdoors at the cemetery,” said Dancing Tony. “Economically, COVID has put many musicians and entertainers out of work as well as those who produce these events so in addition to raising money for the cemetery’s mission we’ve been able to pay musicians and event staff.”
It’s a lot of effort, but performers want to perform.
“It has been many months since we have been able to do this on a regular basis,” said Jaime DeJesus, who is involved with a number of the acts taking the stage over these two weekends. “My thoughts have been reinforced with the ineffable qualities of interacting spiritually, musically, intellectually, and physically with other musicians, crew, and audience.”
It being 2020, there was bound to be yet another curveball thrown at them, as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta blew through the area on Friday, bumping that show to Sunday. Undaunted, these artists continue to roll with whatever comes their way.
“Making music this weekend made for a deeper appreciation,” said DeJesus, “and an appreciation for Tony for providing a venue for the musicians and audience to experience that.”
The Ghost of Uncle Joe’s continues Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are a MUST, and can be purchased via theghostofunclejoes.com.
Family Plot Shows – shows to bring the kids to [gates 11:30]
- 12:00 Black Sabbath by Hoboken School of Rock
- 12:50 Green Day by VASCO Music
- 1:40 Billy Joel by Ruby Bones
- 2:30 Bob Dylan the Anthony and the Tamborine Men
- 3:20 Guided by Voices by members of Sleepers Union, Cheap Horse, and CR and the Nones
5 to 10 pm [21 & up only] gates 4:30
- 5:00 The Dead Kennedys by the Lo-Fidelity Neighborhood Friendship Society
- 5:50 The Wizards of Ozz by Looms
- 6:40 Jimmy Eat World by the Boyfriends
- 7:30 System of a Down by Psilocybe
- 8:20 The Cramps by Mike deLux and a Slim Chance of Poison Ivy from Nevraske [members Desir Decir]
- 9:10 Elton John by Gerry Rosenthal Presents and the Crockadile Rockers
Day of the Dead Showcase
rescheduled from 10/30 – Mischief Night
4 to 9 pm [21 and up] gates at 4:00
- 4:20 The Cramps by Mike deLux and a Slim Chance of Poison Ivy from Nevraske [members Desir Decir]
- 5:10 A Band Called Death by The JC Studio band
- 6:00 System of a Down by Psilocybe
- 6:50 Contagion a Rap- Rock Extravaganza [members Concrete Dream]
- 7:40 Tool by Jeff and The Greenspans
- 8:30 Van Halen by Howlin Bill and Basement and other Dwellers
and co-host Lillian Bustle